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Rodeo draws big crowds, bigger spills

Rodeo fans were not disappointed this weekend as the Rainmaker stayed dry and delivered up three jam-packed days of action. All three shows featured a packed house. Even dusty winds failed to slow down the competitors on Sunday.
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Rodeo fans were not disappointed this weekend as the Rainmaker stayed dry and delivered up three jam-packed days of action.

All three shows featured a packed house. Even dusty winds failed to slow down the competitors on Sunday.

Stock contractor Les Trach said the Rainmaker is always a great event and he was thrilled to come back this year.

"It was a good rodeo, the weather was really good and the facilities here are great."

In bull riding, Brett Branden made eight on Walking Away and took top prize with a score of 72.

Local boy Kyle Primeau almost won the hometown show as he rode Harry Potter to a 71 and Matt Kaprowski pulled in a 68 on the appropriately named Anger Management.

The other suburban cowboy, St. Albert's Len Lefebvre, was thrown from his bull Walking Tall at the 7.24-second mark. He said it is always nice to see the familiar faces at the hometown show.

"I have a lot of family and friends here and I have people who call me up two weeks ahead of time asking me what day I am riding," he says. "It is a little extra pressure, but it's good."

Trach said the bull riding is the big draw at any competition and this weekend's contest didn't disappoint.

"People like to see the almost-wrecks."

Steer wrestling showed just how quickly Alberta cowboys move with some very impressive times.

Dayton Boworth took top spot in 5.1 seconds, Deric Laye was close behind at 5.2 seconds and Dace Harper rounded out the top three with a 5.8 second time.

Several riders scored times in the low four-second range on Sunday, but were hit with ten-second penalties for crossing the barrier too quickly.

The calf roping contest was also a display of speed and skill as Jim Gunsch tied off his calf in 9.6 seconds, followed by Riley Warren at 10.0 and Landon Bryant at 10.5 seconds.

The team ropers were also fast off the mark. Cory Dunlop and Kurt Fletcher were the quickest draws at 5.9 seconds. Trevor Jones and Tyrell Gordon were close behind at 6.1 seconds and hot on their heels was the pairing of Tyson Utri and Steve Horricks at 6.2 seconds.

In the junior steer riding contest Joe Guze took top spot with a 72, followed by a tie between Austin Nash and Shay Marks both with 71 and Justin Hodgenson with a 68.

In bareback riding Ronny Delayue was first, followed by Joe Fentiman and Dustin Jones. Mark O' Dempsey took home the prize money in saddle bronc, with Delano Kjos and Jeremy Tennant close behind.

Close call

Competitors and spectators got a scare during Sunday's saddle bronc competition as one competitor was crushed underneath his horse and an ambulance came into the ring to take him away.

Just out of the gate, the horse lost his footing and started to roll, landing on top of rider Jake Brown.

Trach says Brown is up and doing well now. He suffered a fractured collarbone and a broken nose in the fall, but is otherwise all right.

"They checked him out on the inside and everything and he is just fine."